Everybody Covers Dylan: I’m Not There In Concert @ Beacon Theater, NYC 11/8/07

Jim James of My Morning Jacket

Just a few weeks until the six-Dylan flick I’m Not There starts showing at a theater near you, but last night’s event at Beacon was organized by filmmaker Todd Haynes (hovering above the proceedings) as a moment to celebrate the remarkable official film soundtrack. Remarkable not just for its assemblage of talent, but also for the inspired renditions it’s harnessed (with everyone from Sufjan Stevens to Eddie Vedder, Cat Power to Sonic Youth). Speaking of Chan, she was a no-show. But most everyone else turned up on time — aside from us, of course; in being just fifteen minutes late, we managed to miss Marcus Carl Franklin (aka young Dylan aka Ultragrrrl’s intern) and three tunes from Calexico: “Billy 1,” “Goin’ To Acapulco” with Jim James, and “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” with Joe Henry. But by the end of the night (and especially thanks to MMJ and an electrifying turn by the Roots), we had plenty to write home about. After the jump, a photo-filled setlist, and some bonus video treatment.

Todd Haynes

5. Mark Lanegan & Calexico – “Man In The Long Black Coat”

Heath Ledger

Heath was on hand for introduction duties. He made sure to have a massive wad of gum in his mouth which, when paired with his “why am I here” attitude, was totally charming. He then introduced his good friends…

6. Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – “All I Really Wanna Do”

Edward took the stage without a shirt, and without a guitarist. The crowd turned against him during the excruciating set-up time, though they seemed to rebound every time the skimpy dressed girl did just about anything. Edward tried to kill time with an terrible joke: “What do you call a Mexican with a prosthetic toe? Rub-ber toe.” Groan. His voice wasn’t bad, though.

7. Al Kooper and the Funky Faculty with the Uptown Horns – “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”

Al brought the show back on track with some honest to goodness authenticity. Mr. Kooper played organ on the original from Highway 61 Revisited.

8. Mira Billotte and the Million Dollar Bashers – “As I Went Out One Morning”

9. Ian Ball and Olly Peacock (of Gomez) – “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”

Another highlight of the night. Go Gomez.

10. Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks – “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

Dan and the gals killed this, complete with choreographed shimmy. More than a few got out of their seats during ovation time on this one.

11. Terry Adams’ Rock ‘N’ Roll Quartet – “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35″

12. Yo La Tengo – “I Wanna Be Your Lover”

With NRBQ’s Terry Adams and Buckwheat Zydeco.

13. Yo La Tengo – “Fourth Time Around”

This is an album highlight.

14. My Morning Jacket – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You”

Jim James looks different every time we see him. Purple tux, beachfront best, and last night, he’s Ron Burgundy? MMJ’s performance hinted at the raucousness to come; up until this point, interpretations were fairly straightforward and old-school. Some fist pumping, some stage bounding, and as we knew from Bookeaters: the Beacon is perfect for James’s pipes.

15. Mason Jennings – “The Times They Are A-Changin”

16. John Doe – “Pressing On”

“Pressing On” went on and on, but John made up for it with one of the best turns on the night a little later. Before the tune, Doe mentioned that none of the performers had really mentioned Dylan (true, they were busy thanking Todd Haynes). “Dylan’s out there somewhere tonight, playing a gig. Or smoking a joint with Merle Haggard. I’m just glad he’s out there somewhere tonight.” John had a nice gospel mini choir for this tune. And a nice orange silk suit (don’t try that at home).

17. Jimmy LaFave – “Buckets Of Rain”

This was supposed to be a duet with Michelle Shocked, but she missed her flight. (We still don’t know Cat Power’s excuse). So Jimmy did this solo acoustic, backed by a pretty kick-ass mandolin. As much as a mandolin player can kick ass.

18 .Tift Merritt & Joe Henry – “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Tift was a surprise guest. A pleasant one, at that.

19. Lee Ranaldo and the Million Dollar Bashers – “Can’t Leave Her Behind”

Sonically youthful Lee is the leader of the I’m Not There houseband the Million Dollar Bashers, and he took lead vocals on “Can’t Leave Her Behind,” an unreleased tune from ’66. This featured a wailing J Mascis solo. As if there was any other kind.

20. Chris Bailey, Lee Ranaldo, J. Mascis & The Million Dollar Bashers – “Maggie’s Farm”

22. John Doe and the Million Dollar Bashers – ‘Ballad Of A Thin Man”

John apologized for using a lyrics sheet (“there are a lot of words in this song”), but this was a thrilling performance.

23. The Roots – “Masters Of War”

Bar none, top of the night. The Roots dusted off their stellar “Masters Of War” cover, arranging the first verses to the melody of “Star Spangled Banner,” turning it into a shredding beast later, complete with Tuba Gooding Jr. on sousaphone, jumping out into the crowd while ?uestlove held a meaty backbeat. There was no standing O like this standing O.

24. Everybody – “All Along The Watchtower”

The all-star jam was plagued by broken vocal mics for the first two verses, but there was a lot of talent on that stage — it was just fun to watch. They did have to contend with “Bring back the Roots!” calls. So did the cabbies on Amsterdam Ave. out front afterwards.

Your gift for scrolling through all this photos: video of MMJ tackling “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You.”